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Tuesday, 18 May 2021 - Brussels Revised edition

Recent deaths in the Mediterranean and search and rescue at sea (debate)

  Lena Düpont (PPE). – Madam President, there can be, and there will be, no doubt: saving lives at sea, fulfilling international European and moral obligations is key. But search and rescue alone won’t solve the dire situation, because crossing the Mediterranean is still the effect and not the cause. Thus our aim still needs to be working together closely with third countries, improving sustainable living conditions, preventing people from making these dangerous crossings, taking specific actions against smugglers and traffickers.

Colleagues, we all know that it’s far easier to give simple answers than addressing a complex issue with an even more complex political answer, trying to get three institutions, 27 Member States and at least most political families on board. Nevertheless, future assessments will be made on the improvement on the current situation, so it was good that we at least started discussing the new pact that Member States were willing to talk about it again. But we need more than willingness: we need decision and compromise. And part of the truth is that the whole pact will not work without effective border control and border management, and it will not work if we don’t step up our efforts for effective returns.

So for this year, discussion is good; delivering is better. With illegal crossings on the rise, with secondary movement on the rise, we see that there is an urgent need for more pace, more ambition, more Europe at the heart of the asylum and migration package. The only thing we don’t have more of is time. So let’s not waste any more of it, cautiously staring at each other, waiting for the other institution to move first. Let’s start delivering.

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